Feb
18

Pettitte and the Feds talk Clemens

By

As the Andy Pettittee free agent “will he or won’t he?” saga dragged on this winter, proponents of Pettitte’s possible return cited his off-season involvement with a PED investigation as one of the reasons for his bad second half. They tired, he reasoned, because he was too involved with a federal investigation and Congressional hearings to keep himself in perfect baseball shape. This year, these supporters said would be different.

However, on the first day of Spring Training, The Daily News gave to me a story about Andy and the Feds. According to the report, Pettitte met in D.C. last Tuesday with two federal prosecutors who are investigating Roger Clemens for perjury. Pettitte said simply that he “couldn’t talk it” to reporters this week.

As Yogi said, it’s like déjà vu all over again. Of course, 2009 isn’t at all like 2008, right? This time, Pettitte had just one visit with the two assistant U.S. attorneys as far as we know. The rest of the off-season, he was able to spend resting his injured throwing arm.

Now, I don’t mean this to cast doubt or suspicion on Pettitte or the team. The rest of the New York sports media is doing fine in that regard with A-Rod, thank you very much. But this winter, Pettitte had a contract dispute extend through the end of January, and he took a journey to D.C. The distractions are there, and Pettitte isn’t one to make excuses about them. He’ll show up as ready to play as any soon-to-be 37-year-old can.

In the end, the Yanks don’t really need Pettitte to be anything spectacular. He is the fourth starter in the Yankee rotation and the fifth best in terms of stuff and potential at this point in this career. They’re guaranteeing him just $5.5 million 2009 and have a plethora of young arms waiting in the wings. Basically, anything the Yanks get from Andy will be icing on the cake. A good season would be a pleasant surprise; a mediocre one is more likely. As long as he throws the innings, I’ll take it.

Categories : Pitching

15 Comments»

  1. A.D. says:

    The big difference is this year Andy is a nice to have, if he gets hurt, or just sucks it up then Aceves/Hughes/IPK & co. will get their shot to crack the rotation, and otherwise Andy gives a nice veteran lefty in the mid to back of the rotation.

    • Yup. 2008 Andy Pettitte was our #2/#3 starter. 2009 Andy Pettitte is our #4/#5 starter.

      This time last year, it was Wang, Pettitte, and hope that we get something of value from Moose/Hughes/IPK (and if we don’t, we’re kinda screwed). This year, it’s CC/Burnett/Joba/Wang and hope that we get something of value from Andy (and if we don’t, we’ve got a handful of nice options waiting in Scranton).

  2. Matt says:

    Andy, my birthday brother, even though I didn’t necessarily want you back for ’09, I obviously wish you the best of luck.

    On topic, I don’t think this is as big of a deal as people are going to make it. He’s now an average to below average pitcher and meeting w/the Feds won’t help or hurt that, IMO.

    • Whozat says:

      If you consider pettitte below average, your notion of average is inflated.

      Still, anyone worried that Hughes wouldn’t get any starts should be comforted. Doesn’t seem like it’ll be an issue. I’d bet five bucks that both Hughes and Kennedy get a start before sept.

      • I’d bet five bucks that both Hughes and Kennedy get a start before sept.

        Probably true.

        • radnom says:

          Doesn’t an average team use like 7-8 starters during the course of the year?
          I think the Yankees used something like 11 different ones last year, not sure if that counts Bruney.

          • Doesn’t an average team use like 7-8 starters during the course of the year?

            FWIW, the record-setting 1998 Yankees title team had 5 dominant and consistent starters that carried them to the title:

            Cone, 216 IP, 124 ERA+
            Wells, 214 IP, 127 ERA+
            Pettitte, 216 IP, 104 ERA+
            El Duque, 141 IP, 141 ERA+
            Irabu, 173 IP, 109 ERA+

            … and we still found time to give 14 starts to Ramiro Mendoza, 2 to Mike Buddie, 2 to Mike Jerzembeck, 1 to Jim Bruske, and 1 to Ryan Bradley. That’s 20 starts to people outside our opening day 5-man rotation.

            The 1999 Yankees used 9 different starters and gave 10 starts to Mendoza, Mike Stanton, Ed Yarnall, and Jeff Juden combined; the 2000 Yanks used TWELVE starters and outside of the 4 man core of Clemens-Pettitte-Cone-Hernandez, split the 5 hole between Gooden (5 starts) and Neagle (15 starts) and still had 19 starts left to share between Mendoza, Yarnall, Jason Grimsley, Ben Ford, Randy Keisler, and Jake Westbrook.

            Pitchers get hurt. They get tightness, they cramp, they have dead arm periods, they struggle, it happens. Aceves, Kennedy, and Hughes will all get big-league starts this year. I wouldn’t be shocked if Coke, Hacker, or Horne get one or two as well.

        • whozat says:

          Oh, it’s definitely true that I’d bet five bucks.

          Being pedantic about semantics FTW!

  3. Mike Pop says:

    If he throws qualtiy innings, puts up an ERA of 4.20. I’ll be ecstatic. I think he is going to have a quality season.

  4. [...] Pettitte and the Feds talk Clemens / THE TRUTH BE TOLD, A-ROID JUST CAN’T [...]

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